"If there are any among you who do not believe or cannot pray, I ask you to send good wishes my way." These were the words of Pope Francis to the people in the crowd outside the Capitol Building after his address to the United State Congress.
Of all the profound words he has shared thus far, these words alone moved my heart in a way that challenged me to look beyond what I already knew. The Pope, the Vicar of Christ, was asking those who did not believe and could not pray to think of him and wish him well in any way they could. This simple act spoke volumes about his belief of the dignity and worth of every life. Every. Single. One. Believer or not.
His words on that balcony demonstrated yet again his belief that every life is important, regardless of ability – physical, mental, or spiritual. He shows us by his example that we can invite anyone – absolutely anyone – to give what they can, honoring their dignity and recognizing their inherent worth. No one should be cast aside in our mission of love.
Sometimes it is precisely those we think have nothing to offer us who end up leading us to profound moments of discovery about ourselves and leading us closer to the face of Christ. In our own families, it is easy to write off those with whom we have disagreements or past hurts. It is tempting to categorize each other based on assumptions about what we believe instead of extending grace and forgiveness. It is tempting to take the easy road and walk away rather than finding common ground and inviting each other to share in the joys and sorrows of our lives.
In our communities it is much the same. We can change that. The Holy Father has shown us that sometimes just a simple act of inviting another to wish us well can break down the barriers our differences can otherwise create. Where we look at one another and see what is lacking, Francis's example shows us how to begin to see in each other what we possess - the fingerprint of God, no matter our relationship with Him. It is time we begin to evoke in one another a memory of this belonging, of being beloved by our Creator, without accusation. For those who have fallen away, for those in our families who have hurt us, for our children who stray, for those who vehemently disagree with us, let us remind them how much they are loved. Let us remind one another that we are all necessary. None of us is disposable to the other. Let's invite each other to wish us all well, and pray that the door to Love Himself is thrown wide open in the process.
How can we extend our hand in welcome to those who might think we have no need of them? How can we heal our own families by calling forth each other's inherent worth? How can our families together open wide the doors on our mission of love?
Copyright 2015 Rakhi McCormick
Photo copyright 2015 Rakhi McCormick. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Rakhi is a Catholic wife and mother who works in parish communications part-time while trying to keep up with her husband, three young children, and a growing creative business. She is a convert from Hinduism and spent many years working in young adult and campus ministry. Rakhi’s blog and artwork can be found at The Pitter Patter Diaries, where her mission is to share the love of Christ with the world.